We reported earlier that Peter LaBarbera was to be in town to “counter the upcoming Gay Games events in Chicago with a ‘Truth and Love Offensive.'” Described as an “outreach”, his stated goal was to “tell homosexuals there is freedom in Christ.”
Part of that offensive was a press conference featuring three ex-gays and several anti-gay speakers. However, fearing that gay activists might protest their love offensive, LaBarbera announced that “only credentialed reporters will be allowed to attend this event.” He did not explain how restricting gay people from attending this event fit into his overall plan of outreach. Perhaps the “outreach” portion of his offensive is restricted to his plans at a bathhouse later in the week.
I did not see any media coverage of this press conference in either the religious or secular press and was uncertain whether it had, indeed, occurred. However, I had overlooked Jason Page who, as a host for Sirius Satellite Radio’s Sports 123 Channel, had press credentials. Jason, a gay man, is covering the Gay Games for PlanetOut and attended LaBarbera’s event.
I attended an event run by Peter LaBarbera and his ultra-conservative Illinois Family Institute. Charming people, I must say. They brought a bunch of “former homosexuals” to educate me and the rest of the gay world on how to become straight. “Find Jesus,” they say. I plan on taking their advice, well, maybe just screaming His name after I get it on with one of the cute athletes from Thailand.
But I digress. I notice when they cameras are shut off and the microphones disappear, a lot of the right-wing nuts become a little softer spoken, and they seem to let their guard down a bit. It was the first time I have attended one of their press conferences. How much of what we see from them is a big act? Just pawns moving around in the political game.
I would have liked to have presented a more serious and professional response to LaBarbera’s press conference but this was the sole reference I could find. So while it seems that LaBarbera’s message did reach at least one gay man, it seems not to have accomplished their stated goals. It also seems that his efforts to get media coverage also was for naught.
Perhaps the trip will not be completely a waste of time, however, if he is able to get more photographs to document his outrage at perversion.
UPDATE: upon reviewing the itinerary for the “Love and Truth” Offensive*, I noted that the peaceful informational outreach portion of the offensive is limited to “media availability in front of Steamworks bathhouse” at 5:30 pm on Saturday. It isn’t clear to me why LaBarbera thinks that peak visiting hours would be at 5:30 but perhaps it’s based on his history.
Also available to the media at the bathhouse will be Dr. John Riggs to discuss “The severe health risks of homosexual behavior” and two ex-gays: James Hartline and Greg Quinlan. Presumably, the informational outreach will occur primarily outside the bathhouse.
* Although I think the quotation marks around “Love and Truth” are appropriate, they are theirs not mine.